HealthDay News — Meteorologists and health experts are warning that a huge blanket of Sahara Desert dust will engulf parts of the United States this week.
The dust plume, drifting from North Africa across the Atlantic to North America, occurs a few times every year, the experts said. But this week, the cloud of dust is especially huge, and it has already hit the Caribbean.
“This is the most significant event in the past 50 years,” Pablo Méndez Lázaro, Ph.D., an environmental health specialist with the University of Puerto Rico, told the Associated Press. “Conditions are dangerous in many Caribbean islands.”
Health experts across the Caribbean are warning people, especially those with asthma and other respiratory problems, to stay indoors and use an air filter if they have one. A dust-laden haze is already blanketing Puerto Rico, the AP reported, with the international airport in San Juan reporting visibility at just 5 miles. The dust cloud is expected to affect atmospheric conditions until at least late Tuesday, when it is expected to begin moving toward the Southeastern United States. The plume is expected to hit Gulf Coast areas of states like Texas and Louisiana by Wednesday or Thursday.